A lot of folks canceled big weddings during the pandemic, so perhaps it’s no surprise that a new study finds fewer people got married last year. The Bowling Green State University demographic study that looks at five states also suggests a big drop in divorces by as much as 36% in New Hampshire, for example.

The thing about divorce is it’s expensive. 

“If you have complex issues or custody stuff, you probably need an attorney,” said Michelle O’Neil, a divorce lawyer in Dallas.

“There ends up being a duplication of housing, so you have to create the duplicate furniture, and then you have the electrical, all the costs of a normal house,” she said.

And, right now, a lot of people don’t have that money to spend. 

That is likely a big reason the divorce rate has dropped by more than 20% during the pandemic in four of the five states the study looked at.

Krista Payne is one of the study’s researchers, and she said the same thing happened during the Great Recession. 

“And much of that was found to be caused by economic resources, and just loss of jobs and less resources to get divorced,” Payne said.

The uncertainty of the last year and the temporary closures of offices and courts likely also played a role. 

“The other thing about divorce is divorce takes time,” Payne said.

Couples who might not be getting along now because of the pandemic, Payne said, may not officially get divorced for a while. 

Which essential workers should be prioritized for vaccines?

Front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are getting the shots first, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. Essential workers will be considered next, but with limited vaccine doses and a lot of workers considered essential, the jockeying has already started over which ones should go to the front of the line: meatpacking workers, pilots, bankers and ride-share drivers among them. The CDC will continue to consider how to best distribute the vaccine, but ultimately it’s up to each state to decide who gets the shots when.

Could relaxing patents help poorer countries get vaccines faster?

The world’s poorest countries may not be able to get any vaccine at all until 2024, by one estimate. To deliver vaccines to the world’s poor sooner that, some global health activists want to waive intellectual property protections on vaccines, medicines and diagnostics. India, South Africa and Kenya have asked the World Trade Organization to allow pharmaceutical plants in the developing world to manufacture patented drugs without having to worry about lawsuits. The United States, Britain and the European Union, have repeatedly rejected the proposal at the WTO.

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept in extreme cold at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. And keeping it that cold requires dry ice. Where does that dry ice come from?

Also, is there enough of it to go around? And how much is it going to cost? The demand for dry ice is about to spike, and a whole bunch of industries are worried. Now, dry ice sells for $1 to $3 a pound. While the vaccine gets priority, smaller businesses and nonessential industries may end up losing out.

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